‘Owen Owen a Liverpool History: London Road-to-Clayton Square’

Owen Owen

Pleased to say I have now completed my latest ‘Liverpool history’ which I hope you enjoy,

and might be able to add to: Link

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You can find my other ‘Liverpool histories’ here

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New research………

The latest piece of research is now coming along nicely. And it is again about something of a Liverpool institution………..Owen Owen, Clayton Square. As ever the research is both fascinating and revealing as I learn more about not only the store but also our great city.

From early beginnings on London Road in 1868 until the sad and final day of trading in Clayton Square in 1993 the store touched many peoples lives, both as employees and customers. This is were you come in I would love to add some personal anecdotes to the research, so if you shopped at Owen Owen, perhaps travelling from North Wales, or worked at the store I would love to hear from you. If you can why not drop me a line via the contact page, or on Twitter @Liverpool1207

I look forward to hearing from you, and completing the research. Cheers.

Posted in 1900 - 1949, Buildings, Liverpool, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Dates and Events that have Shaped Liverpool

On a whim I’d thought I would try and come up with twenty key dates/events that have had a significant role in shaping how this great city of Liverpool has evolved. Now its an impossible task, and the parameters you could apply are endless. I have tended to go for events that in turn led to subsequent developments. I have not for instance included key external factors/events such as global recessions, or the impact of specific government policies on the city.

What is undeniable when looking to compile such a list, is what a great city of ‘firsts’ we are, and many of these could have been included for their impact across the globe.

Anyhow it was a good excuse to look back across the history of the city and refresh my knowledge of some key events. Why not have a go at compiling and sharing your own list, it would be interesting to see the perspective of others.

  1. – 28th Aug 1207 – Granting of the first Charter by King John
  2. – 1647 – Liverpool becomes a free port not tied to Chester
  3. – 1648 – First recorded shipment of tobacco from America on the ‘Friendship’.
  4. – 1667 – First imports of sugar
  5. – 3rd Oct 1699 – ‘The Liverpool Merchant’ first recorded slave ship leaves port
  6. – 31st Aug 1715 – Steers Old Dock opens
  7. – 1774 – Leeds-Liverpool Canal opens to Gathurst (connected to Wigan via Douglas Navigation)
  8. – 1784, January – The first American cotton was unloaded in Liverpool
  9. – 21st July 1813 – East India Company Act
  10. – 15th Sept 1830 – Opening of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway
  11. – 4th July 1840 – First Cunard ship sails to the US
  12. – 1847 – Irish Famine influx
  13. – 1869 – St. Martins Cottages, Vauxhall built – Europe’s first municipal housing
  14. – 12th March 1892 – Everton F.C. – Liverpool F.C. split
  15. – 3rd may 1941 – The May Blitz begins
  16. – 6th July 1957 – Lennon-McCartney first meet
  17. – 3rd July 1981 – Toxteth Riots
  18. – 3rd July 1993 – Awarded EU Objective One Funding
  19. – 4th June 2003 – Awarded Capital of Culture for 2008
  20. – 29th May 2008 Liverpool One opens
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Bombers Over Liverpool

Between May 15th and June 4th 1945 the Liverpool Daily Post published a series of pictures under the title of ‘Bombers Over Liverpool’. The pictures were of well-known city centre buildings showing how they were before and after being bombed. The pictures were also accompanied by a short history of each building.

It is almost impossible to imagine walking into town today, and then visiting a week later to see it a scene of complete devastation with many the of streets impassable and many of the buildings you frequently visited obliterated. This however was exactly the scenario many Liverpudlians encountered in May 1941 before and after Hitler’s bombers were intent on inflicting unknown damage upon the city.

Four years later the wounds and losses of many would still have been raw, but the newspapers were now able to re-tell the stories of those never forgotten days. Seeing the pictures all together today, and walking the same streets, it does (with not a little imagination) enable you to better appreciate not only the devastation caused by the bombing but also the immense efforts required to help the city then recover.

All images © Trinity Mirror.  Accessed via British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

The pictures were numbered 1 -to- 15 but there does not appear to have been a number 9.


7th June 1945

All above images © Trinity Mirror.  Accessed via British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

LINKS

The full story of The Blitz and its devastating impact upon Liverpool has been well documented by many sources and here are just a few excellent web links you might want to have a look at:

Liverpool And Merseyside Remembered: http://liverpoolremembrance.weebly.com/

A superb resource for those interested in the topic, including lots of amazing pictures. Please do take a look.

Liverpool Blitz 70: http://www.liverpoolblitz70.co.uk/tag/home-front/

Celebrating the Spirit of Liverpool | 70th Anniversary of the May Blitz 30th April to 2nd May 2011

About: Liverpool Blitz 70! was a whole city event which took place from Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May to mark the 70th anniversary of the May Blitz of 1941.

Whilst giving proper respect to those who lost their lives during the bomb raids of the Second World War, the event was intended to be a celebration of the spirit of the Blitz and indeed, the spirit of Liverpool!

Blitz Chronology:  https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/Historical/pdf/Blitz_cronology.pdf

From the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

May Blitz – The Seven Days that Rocked Liverpool:

A fascinating video from the BBC

Liverpool 1941:

https://www.nwfa.mmu.ac.uk/viewVideo.php?token=4798agw26506b49531604m1161b&token=4798agw26506b49531604m1161b

A video that brings home the true impact of May 1941:

‘Record of bomb damage suffered by the city of Liverpool after the blitz of May 1941. After opening shots of the Pier Head there are scenes of ruined streets and damaged buildings throughout the city including Custom House, St Nicholas and St Luke’s churches, the Corn Exchange, Lewis’s department store and the docks’

The Merseyside Blitz: acts of bravery – https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/100364

During World War 2, Merseyside was one of the most heavily bombed British conurbations outside of London.

The location of the port of Liverpool made it a lifeline for essential imports of fuel, food and materials, as well as naval repairs, and the city was also a strategic hub for the coordination of the Battle of the Atlantic. This also made it a prime target for the Luftwaffe.

Merseyside had suffered sustained bombings since August 1940, with the most severe incident for loss of life at Durning Road, Edge Hill, in November, when 166 people were killed after a college collapsed on to a shelter in which they were hiding, with others severely injured. Other heavy raids tore through the city, with just three days in December seeing the death of 365 people (the ‘Christmas Blitz’).

The first week in May 1941 saw seven nights of sustained bombing that destroyed and set ablaze areas of the city of Liverpool and the surrounding area, killing 1,746 civilians and injuring 1,154 others. After May, the raids became less intense, but continued until January 1942. By its end, some 3,899 people had been killed.

The many individual acts of bravery and courage at this time are stories that deserve to be told…..

Spirit of The Blitz:

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/exhibitions/blitz/index.aspx

From Liverpool Museums. This in turn offers another host of interesting links:

Imperial War Museum:

A panoramic view of the city of Liverpool, showing bomb damage received after an air raid. The Liver Building can be clearly seen just to the right of centre, and the River Mersey is just visible to the left of the photograph.

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Liverpool Parish Church, Our Lady & St Nicholas

Liverpool Parish Church, Our Lady & St Nicholas

We quite often hear of places being described as ‘an oasis’ within an otherwise hectic environment, and if ever this phrase was ever justified then the gardens of St Nicholas in Liverpool fit the bill. That is not to say that it is short of visitors, and it is certainly not to say its history is anything but rich, fascinating, and frequently controversial.

From being a vantage point to see the arrival of Royals and grand ships, a parade of the towns well-to-do, a final resting place for rich and poor, a gathering point for ‘drunks and rogues’, to a place associated with slaver captains, St Nicholas gardens, or perhaps more accurately churchyard, has had it all.

There has been an abundance written about St Nicks and I do not endeavour to attempt a comprehensive history of this place, but instead offer an illustrated time-line that will transport you through time, and many links for your continued exploration.

Apologies for any errors, please let me know if you spot any.

Link to PDF

‘Homeless Jesus’ St Nicks April 2019

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Compton House, Church St, Liverpool – A History

“Compton House. Established 1832.

Destroyed by Fire, December, 1865.

Rebuilt, 1867”

1868 – Liverpool Records Office: 942.71PIC

Liverpool has a rich heritage when it comes to retail, the names of Owen Owen, George Henry Lee, T J Hughes, Bon Marche, Henderson’s, Bunney’s, Littlewoods, and of course Lewis’s have long associations with the city, and still hold memories for many Liverpudlians. We also of course were home to the first UK branch of Woolworth’s which opened in 1909. In this rich history one street above all has been front of house, Church Street, and it is here that our story will in essence begin in 1832.

It would take a far more adept wordsmith than I to do it justice but the story that unfolded from humble beginnings does indeed sound like the stuff of a grand BBC period drama, or dare I say it even a Hollywood film. The BBC drama ‘Paradise’ springs to mind. Poor boy made good, great friendship, love, tragedy, high finance, social history, a dramatic fire, the building of a ‘great edifice’, overcoming adversity, a controversial trial, political intrigue, financial impropriety, and the swift fall of the once mighty, it has it all.

If you are in the legal profession why not share your thoughts on the 1866 trial.

The history has been woven around newspaper cuttings of the day and could not have been complied without the superb resource British Newspaper Archives – https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

If you can add anything to the history, have information on the current building, have any queries, or have spotted any errors please do contact me via the contact page.

I hope you enjoy the read!

Rex.

Link to PDF 

Please feel free to share but I would be grateful if you referenced the source.

 

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Baltic Creative and the William Smith Warehouse

Any new development in Liverpool tends to attract mixed comments, but especially when it also involves an old building; in this case the former William Smith Warehouse on Norfolk/Simpson Street

At the time of writing the following Tweet in Sept 2017, you can see this time the response proved to be very popular:

Baltic Creative revealed exciting plans to redevelop the unlisted building into a ‘Tech Hub’ for creative and digital businesses.

Planning permission was granted, a design team and a main contractor appointed, and then the considerable task of converting the building began back in November 2017. You can view the planning application here 16F/1133 and the ‘Design & Access Statement’ by K2 Architects here

People will have their own views (I like them) on the architectural/aesthetic merits of the redevelopment but there does seem to be universal approval for the efforts to save the building.

Part of the appreciation for the building comes from living memories of the site as Guinness Export Ltd, a large local employer for many years, and also as a result of it being one of a dwindling number of such buildings remaining in the Baltic Triangle (and indeed in the wider city).

A history of the site, building, and a little on William Smith….

The building was erected in two phases, the first phase in 1881 a 4-storey storage warehouse. It was then expanded with a 2-storey extension in 1882 along Simpson St and what was part of New Brick St. According to historical records the buildings were built by William Smith, a paper stock, metal and general merchant who lived at 30 Great George Square. He also actually resided in Norfolk St prior to buying the site to build his warehouse.

We know he lived in Norfolk St from this cutting, which tells of the death of his father-in-law Dominick Quinn: Liverpool Daily Post – Wednesday 16 October 1867

It appears that Mr Quinn was in a similar line of work as William, being a ‘dealer in sacks, bags, mats, twine’ from his premises at 15 York Street for some 25 years. Did William meet his wife through a works do I wonder!?

We have further confirmation of William Smith living at 65 Norfolk Street, prior to demolition, from the Gores Directories of 1865/67.

The first evidence of William being a marine-store dealer comes from a report in the Liverpool Daily Post of Friday 25th July 1856 telling how he had been fined:

You can see he was trading in Brick St which is next to Norfolk Street. There is a possibility that this was actually his father trading, as his name was also William Smith. We know his fathers name from juniors marriage details. The marriage to Bridget Quinn (a bit of doubt re ‘Bridget’ as the record is hard to read) took place on 9th July 1852 in Liverpool. The parents are recorded as William Smith of Brick St and Dominick Quinn of Flint St. The witnesses were John Quinn and Mary Quinn.

William managed to get the wrong side of the law again in 1870 when he was summoned for operating without a horse license, receiving a hefty £5 fine.

This area of The Baltic Triangle was at this time going through some considerable change. It had developed rapidly with the expanding southern dock system. As recently as 1785 our site had still been fields/paddocks owned by ‘the late Mr Jackson:

With docks then arriving rapidly; Kings 1877, Queens 1796 change was inevitable and leases are evident from 1803 on New Brick Street (this the section between Simpson and Chaloner Streets). Watkinson/Norfolk St still have gardens in 1807, but by 1849 court housing (see Ormandy and Davies on map), warehouses, and industry are prevalent. We read of numerous deaths in Lower Brick Street during 1854 due to a cholera outbreak:

1807

1849

From 1859 a new wave of development is evident with the Corporation beginning to sell land, widen and extend streets, and demolishing old housing. It is this phase that allows William Smith to buy the existing buildings in May 1880, and then demolish and redevelop his site. The sale notice:

Liverpool Mail – Saturday 01 May 1880

William managed to purchase the land for £580, with a stipulation ‘to be rebuilt within 3 years’:

William clearly met the 3 year stipulation, although he continued to trade at 60 & 62 Brick Street until 1882 (Gores).  He is also listed at 78 Gregson Street Everton perhaps suggesting he set up temporary shop during building works, or more likely was just living there?

The 1881 Street Directory lists William Smith, Marine Store Dealer at 61-63 Norfolk Street. A Marine Store Dealer was a licensed broker who bought and sold used cordage, bunting, rags, timber, metal and other general waste materials. He usually sorted the purchased waste by kind, grade etc. He also repaired and mended sacks etc.

The Norfolk St warehouse of 1881 followed following a simple design common in Liverpool at the time – raised loading bay/doors to accommodate carts, narrow pedestrian access, stairs and protruding hoist. The position of the stairs is indicated by the tier of small windows included to admit light.

K2 Architects say of the buildings erected by Smith:

‘the smaller section to the rear is of a different style and proportion, suggesting it was used for something other than storage. Our research would suggest it housed a delivery entrance and an office/admin area. The huge 500mm thick walls, highly engineered façade and crafted metal work over the entrance would also suggest this warehouse was of high importance when Liverpool was at the height of its trading days’

The dates on the two buildings indicate the separate building phases/opening.

During this time he was clearly doing well and is now living at 3o Great George Square (listed at no. 7 in 1879). He would however soon be visited by misfortune in losing his son:

Liverpool Mercury – Wednesday 11th January 1882

Fire insurance maps from 1890 show Smith’s buildings in use as a ‘Rag WHSE’ and ‘Rag Sorting’. Records also show he was trading as a ‘paper stock merchant’:

1890 – Fire Insurance Map

Over ten years after building the new warehouses we learn that Mr Smiths business has run into trouble, and in 1894 we see the warehouse and its contents for sale:

At this time the street directory is showing:

  • 1894 – Smith, William marine-store dealer & paper stock merchant 30 Gt. George Square W. warehouse 61 & 65 Norfolk St
    • 61 to 65 Norfolk St. Smith Wm. paper-stock merchants,
    • 75 Norfolk St. Bruce & Still iron roof manufacturers,
    • 79 Norfolk St. Hall Thos. B & Co export bottlers Ross W.A. & Brother ale and porter exporters (these become relevant as the history progresses)

The Liverpool Mercury of Tuesday 2nd April 1895 illustrates the final demise of the business with a second winding up order, which also suggests he had needed to move house:

This is the last information I found on William Smith…..I wonder what became of him?

One man’s misfortune is another man’s gain as we say and the warehouses continued to provide opportunity. They appear to have been empty for a couple of years but then in 1898 the directory shows:

61 to 65 Norfolk St., Davies John E marine-store dealer

Mr Davies, who had previously traded near by in Simpson Street, is listed as trading at the address up until 1911

Looking at the 1906 map we see the buildings are neighboured by a ‘Bottle Works’ where in 1900 the Guinness association had started:

This would later become the Guinness Export Bottling Plant, as did the Smith Warehouse.

1906

The street directory of 1914 introduces Arthur Samuel Hooper for the first time:

  • 1914 – A.S. Hooper at 45 Lydia Anne St and also at 61 – 65 Norfolk St
  • 1915 – 61 to 65 Norfolk St., Hooper Arthur Stanley seed merchant (telephone 2036 Royal)

Arthur was a ‘Seed Merchant’ – A S Hooper, whose name could still be seen above the corner doorway prior to the recent redevelopment:

A S Hooper

Mr Hooper clearly did very well and his business survived until at least 1962. Back in 1941 he was, as many, taking precautions to safeguard his premises from the threat of German bombers:

Interestingly there is a Liverpool Councillor called A.S. Hooper at this time. I have not been able to determine if they are one of the same.

The above picture also details ‘Walshs Ltd’ and the numbers 61 63 65, and thanks to a response to my initial blog on the warehouse we learn:

‘AS Hooper was acquired by Walshs Limited of Blackburn who operated under the Magnet Pet Foods brand. Hooper was an old established business founded in 1900. In the 30’s it became part of Magnet which manufactured dog biscuits, supplied bird seed and fish food and made bird cages and accessories for the pet trade. In the 60’s the whole concern was acquired by Garfield Weston and Associated British Foods’

Many will know the door, although not realise where it was, and I am pleased to say it has been retained untouched in the completed redevelopment:

In c1940 the bottling plant next door on Norfolk St had changed from T.B Hall’s to Alexander Macfee  & Co Ltd., export bottlers. In 1950 they would in turn change their name: 

From 1952 (no directory published in 1951) we see:

    • Guinness Exports Ltd at 71 – 83 Norfolk St

In 1962 AS Hooper is still there, but in 1963 there is no directory entry for our warehouses and it appears this is when Guinness Export expand their footprint, in 1964 they are now listed at 65 – 83 Norfolk St.

Many will have good memories of working at the Guinness plant (I would love to hear more), it was by all accounts a great place to work with an active social scene.

Via Twitter @johnbdm tells us of the 1882 warehouse facing Simpson St:

‘it was called the tank room, and had three I think large stainless steel vessels of about 250 barrels each – a barrel being 36 gallons’

…..and we learn the name of the fork-lift truck driver!

Guinness Export Ltd finally closed in early 1986, moving to Runcorn, with the loss of many jobs. Local MP at the time Robert Parry would raise this in Parliament in the context of the wider catastrophic Merseyside job losses.

In 1988/89 the main building, which was originally between Brick St and Norfolk St, and which had stood empty for a number of years was leased by Skillion Holdings.  It would appear that the William Smith warehouse was at this time cast aside to slowly deteriorate……..until the recent rescue.

On 19th July 1990 Skillion open Charlotte and Shipwrights House at 67-83 Norfolk  St., and by 1991 are proclaiming them 90% full:

Liverpool Echo – Thursday 11 April 1991

Conclusion

How refreshing is it, that at a time when developers are so keen to send in the bulldozers, that a local organisation with local interests at heart are prepared to go that extra mile to preserve rather than destroy. Of course, this is not just out of sentimentality but because they feel it makes good business sense and meets the needs of a unique area of Liverpool. Having had a glimpse of what awaits inside I am sure people will be impressed. Can’t wait to see the café area, basement, and roof terrace in full working mode.

I wish Baltic Creative all the best in their endeavours to now fill the building with creative flare!

Let’s hope this is not the last such redevelopment in the Baltic Triangle.

…………..a few interesting snippets thanks to people on Twitter:

John Coakley‏ @jhcoakley

I see W Smith lived in 30 Great George Square, where my grandfather and uncle lived and worked as GPs. I then worked in Guinness Exports….

You weren’t allowed to drink the Guinness. It was a bonded warehouse patrolled by HM Customs. Instant dismissal or prosecution…. ….nevertheless you came home reeking of Guinness!

We sent Guinness all over the world (a lot of embassies), which is how I knew where to buy it in Greece.

Nov 2017

Scaffolding has been erected around the site and the road is closed for 40 weeks.

Nov 2017

Nov 2018

February 2019…..looking good

February 2019

More interesting pictures here illustrating the renovation task that was undertaken: https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/william-smith-warehouse-liverpool-nov-2017.110799/

For further information on the development contact:

info@baltic-creative.com or visit http://www.baltic-creative.com

If you are interested in historic Liverpool warehouses I thoroughly recommend reading this book/PDF file

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Beyond Saving…

As it always sadly will be, we still have a list of buildings, large and small, that are in desperate need of investment and indeed saving. Some have plans in the pipeline but it is important we keep them in the public eye, let them never get to ‘beyond saving’. These currently include:

  • The Wellington Rooms
  • 10 Hockenhall Alley
  • Gwalia/Sandfield Tower
  • Heaps Mill
  • The Lyceum
  • 11 – 13 Cheapside
  • Eldon Grove
  • ABC/Forum Cinema, Lime St
  • Everton Library
  • Welsh Cathedral, Prince Road
  • Fruit Exchange, Victoria St
  • Bank of England, Dale St
  • Newsham Park Orphanage
  • Magistrates Courts, Dale St

…..I am sure there are others we could add

BEYOND SAVING…… by Liverpool1207

There’s a phrase in Liverpool that many dread

A bit like ‘sorry fella I think it’s dead’,

Now if I’m honest that’s a bit extreme

But I’m sure you’ll soon see what I mean.

 

So, bricks and mortar are not everyone’s bag

But living without them is hell of a drag,

The buildings around us are more than just walls,

They are history, they are culture, they are know it all’s!

 

If walls could speak, you know that saying,

I wonder if many are actually praying?

It’s gonna take insight to safeguard our space,

To save what we call a sense of place.

 

From Lime Street to The Customs House, and not just to The Blitz,

We’ve lost cinemas, pubs, churches, and so many other bits!

St Johns Market, the Sailors Home, and the Dockers Umbrella

So many have fallen to that demolition fella.

 

Some call it progress, some call it greed,

Some say it’s the stuff on which developers feed.

But why is the new so square-like and bland,

Not like the Three Graces prestigious and grand!

 

Everton Library, Gwalia, Heaps Mill,

The Lyceum, The Forum, Eldon Grove all look ill.

Twitter and Facebook, the on-line petition

That Echo headline, the Councillor’s rendition

 

The render promises, the developers call,

We know it’s leading to when the walls will fall,

We are promised jobs, and some trees for campaignin,

But we’re sorry folks its now beyond savin!

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The Churches of Liverpool – David Lewis

The Churches of Liverpool

David Lewis

The Bluecoat Press ISBN 1 872568 76 9

INDEX

Those of you whom have read or own a copy of David Lewis’s book will know what a superb and informative read it is. As David himself says ‘church history is a passion’ and this book certainly does Liverpool’s rich stock of churches great justice. Excellent text and excellent pictures provide a fascinating insight into a key part of our city’s history.

There has in spite of the above been one flaw highlighted by many……..the lack of an Index. Until now!

I have compiled the attached Index in spreadsheet and PDF format and I hope you find them useful. Both documents can be searched using church names, street names, or year. Note I have used both St/Street and Rd/Road. I Have not used apostrophes.

I am sure there will be the odd error and/or omission so please do let me know so I can amend the master copies and update. Feel free to download, and I hope they add to your enjoyment of David’s excellent book. Click the following links:

PDF   –   SPREADSHEET

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Wellington Rooms

Wellington Rooms – Mount Pleasant: 1815-16

This is another of Liverpool’s empty buildings that creates much discussion and debate, and one that holds many memories for many people. How fantastic would it be to see this gem alive once again with the sounds of laughter and music, of course with access to the general public! We have waited too long.

Efforts to save the building have been stepped up in recent years with an open-day/consultation hosted by the Merseyside Building Preservation Trust (MBPT) held in the building on 21st March 2018, and current lobbying by @LHUIrishSociety  to see the much loved ‘Irish Centre’ reborn. This follows work done earlier in the year by specialists Quadriga to carry out urgent repairs and make the building water-tight.

Wellington Reading Rooms - opened 1816

The Grade II* Wellington Rooms is a neo-classical building designed by Edmund Aikin, erected by subscription, and located on Mount Pleasant. It was built 1815 – 16 and the first function was the Ladies Charity Ball held on 31st Dec 1816.

The Wellington Club became a key part of the Liverpool social scene in the 19th Century as a venue for dancing, drama, and other entertainment.

A key annual event that took place here was the ‘Steeplechase Ball’ when it is said the grand national winner would be paraded around the ballroom with flannelled hooves! ….not sure on this one 🙂

Pevsner’s guide tells us that the central projecting colonade was originally open but infilled in the 1820s as it gave insufficient shelter. Porches on the west for sedan chairs, and on the east for carriages have also been enclosed (Pevsner Architectural Guides – Liverpool) 

The Wellington Club, or ‘The Rooms’ was wound up in 1923 after failing to regain its popularity post-WWI. We have a fascinating account, written by Sir William Forwood and published in the Liverpool Echo on 20th January 1923. This piece not only gives a snapshot of the elitist goings on at ‘The Rooms’ but also changing Liverpool life for those that frequented it:

 

Most current memories will of course relate back to the buildings days as the Irish Centre from 1965-97:

Time-line

  • 23rd January 1923 – 1930 Embassy Rooms, then sold
  • 1940 – 52 Rodney Youth Centre (later Mulberry St)
  • 1956 – 62 Used by Sisters of Notre Dame for educational purposes
  • Liverpool Irish Centre 1st February 1965 – 1997 inc. Kennedy’s Bar
  • 1997 – Long-running but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to save the Irish Centre
  • 2000 – Developer took over the 99-year lease
  • 2002 – features as one of the original buildings in the Liverpool Echo ‘Stop the Rot’ campaign
  • A proposed conversion to a 48 bedroom hotel was rejected by Liverpool City Council on 21 May 2007.
  • In 2011 opened its doors as part of Heritage Open Month, which led to formation of the ‘Friends of 127’. This project appears to have sadly fallen by the wayside.
  • Heritage Works has undertaken two feasibility/options appraisal studies for the Wellington Rooms, which have explored new uses that can be contained within the existing building and with minimum intervention into the historic fabric. The first explored the viability of Dance Liverpool’s dance centre proposal. The second considered office, function room, restaurant and University uses.
  • 2015 – another scheme announced – University of Liverpool, and John Moores University
  • 2018 – Specialist Quadriga carry out urgent repair works
  • 2018 – new proposals/consultation

Liverpool City Council owns the freehold of the site and also has statutory responsibilities for the listed building.

1997: Liverpool Echo

IrishCentre1997

Further Reading:

Liverpool Records Office Ref. 367 WTN covering dates 1840 – 1933

Heritage Works

‘Another Irish Ruin’ – Gerry Gordon

Video taken in 2011 during Heritage Open Month showking the interior of the building 

As the building looked during works in Feb 2018 – James O’Hanlon:

 

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